SUGAR GROVE – Township officials haven't pronounced their hopes for a new large park dead, yet.
But Sugar Grove Township's leaders say they have shelved the project, and may explore a range of alternatives that could include whether the township wants to be in the park development business at all.
Later this fall, Sugar Grove Township officials will gather to begin discussing the township government's wants and needs for the next five years.
And Township Supervisor Tom Rowe said it is not yet clear how the plan to build a park, which could include lighted ballfields and other amenities, would fit into that strategic plan.
The township began discussing plans to build such a park last year, when former township supervisor Dan Nagle and others first floated the idea to buy about 30 acres on the Prairie Glen, just south of the Sugar Grove Public Library and near village hall and the fire protection district's station at the end of Municipal Drive.
As originally proposed, the park could have included the ballfields, a band shell, storage facility, restrooms and concessions. The park also would have been used for additional parking for the annual Corn Boil festival.
In the months since, however, leadership at the township has changed, as voters selected a new supervisor and board of trustees. Those new elected officials have proven cooler to the idea.
And, at the same time, Rowe said the township has run into problems finding other taxing bodies with which to partner to purchase the land and develop the park.
He said the township could proceed with the plan, if it could partner with the Sugar Grove Road District. But the support of the road district depends on its ability to build a new road maintenance facility on the park site, too.
And Sugar Grove village officials will not allow that to happen, said Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels. The proposed maintenance facility would be built too close to a residential neighborhood, Michels said.
"We have industrial parks and other spaces we'd rather see the road district move into," he said.
Michels also said developing such a park is not high on the village's priorities list, as he said the Sugar Grove Park District already has committed to a number of other parks within the village.
Given the village's position on the matter, Rowe said the township has pulled back its plans to be re-evaluated.
"It's just really not an ideal site for us any longer," Rowe said. "Without the road district a part of this, we will have lost our one and only financial partner.
"And this isn't a project we want to do by ourselves."
He said the township will produce its 5-year plan either later this fall or over the winter.